Antidotes to Fear of Death – by Rebecca Elson
Sometimes as an antidote
To fear of death,
I eat the stars.
Those nights, lying on my back,
I suck them from the quenching dark
Til they are all, all inside me,
Pepper hot and sharp.
Sometimes, instead, I stir myself
Into a universe still young,
Still warm as blood:
No outer space, just space,
The light of all the not yet stars
Drifting like a bright mist,
And all of us, and everything
But unconstrained by form.
And sometime it’s enough
To lie down here on earth
Beside our long ancestral bones:
To walk across the cobble fields
Of our discarded skulls,
Each like a treasure, like a chrysalis,
Thinking: whatever left these husks
Flew off on bright wings.
Listen on the Wild Creation Stories podcast here:
Once there was a girl who would climb up onto the roof of her house and watch the stars. The sky was full of stars, too many for her to count.
The little girl’s father told her:
“There are many more stars, many, many more than you can possibly see. Stars not only fill up the sky, but the entire universe.”
“How big is the universe, Papa?” she asked.
“It’s bigger than you can imagine.”
“Bigger than this?” she said, holding her arms out as wide as she could.
“Bigger than that times a million, billion, trillion,” he said.
“Is the universe bigger than god?” she said.
The little girl’s father looked up at the sky and took a very deep breath. “The universe is so big that it is god. It is so big that it is everything. It has no end and no beginning.”
The little girl looked up at the sky and opened her mouth wide. “I will eat the stars!” she said, and she did.
The father looked at his daughter in awe, for the stars were alive inside of her, along with everything in that vast expanse of the universe.
The little girl began to glow. Her skin grew lustrous with starlight and cast a circle of radiance across the street. Neighbors came to their windows to find the source of the light, hundreds of times brighter than the stars and moon combined. The father shielded his eyes.
As the people looked in her direction, the little girl’s glow grew even brighter. She glowed and grew, getting larger and larger, until her light beamed across her town, her country, and the entire world.
The light inside the little girl was large and small at the same time. It penetrated the very fabric of spacetime and matter, until the little girl was no more form, but only light.
The light that was the little girl flew up into the midnight sky and took its place among the stars, the very brightest of them.
The star looked down, shining upon the earth, inviting the next human to swallow it whole and learn the truth.
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